Guest Writer: Brian Schmidt (Slime and Grime) Photographer and Editor: Spencer Fleming (Stories from the Crowd)
After a long day, having my body pounded into a fine mush during my ten and a half hour shift, and having my brain pounded into a fine mush in my 3 hour night class, I hobbled into the Slowdown, a fine mush indeed. What followed was a mushy, gushy, raw psychedelic, experience. Everything was a little fuzzy, and if ever there was a concert for bass fuzz it was this one.
For those of you who don’t know me, Hi, I’m Brian. I’m not only a busy guy, but I’m also a connoisseur of the various forms of metal. I grew up on Sabbath and other classic rock bands, awkwardly stumbled through my teens with nü-metal, sped through my senior year on thrash metal, and contemplated murder suicide with death metal all throughout college, I mean… the first time. I’m no slaugh when it comes to the scene, however Doom metal eludes me. One would think that it’s dreamy vibe, Sabbath inspired down-tuned riffs, and fuzzy appearance would appeal to me, but it ranks pretty low on my list of favorite genres. So why would I go to this particular show? Well for one, I was asked to by the fantabulous Spencer Fleming, owner of Stories from the Crowd, and two, to explore the depths of fuzz and find out what makes Doom metal so attractive to the metal community.
To kick the show off, Warish, a throwback to the skater punk/hardrock scene, caressed my mushy self into a blob shaped nightmare with their bass driven cacophony. Their music is exactly the kind you would find in a Tony Hawk game in the early 2000’s, which kind of makes sense given that Tony Hawk’s son Riley is rocking guitar and vocals. I would imagine his upbringing in the skater community is a big contributor to their sound.In a world full of bad pop punk bands this band certainly stands out. Warish opened me up to the fuzz.
To get a better understanding of the music I decided to interview a representative of each type of fan. During set changes I talked to the gnarliest looking guy at the show, Chuck. Sporting a jean battle vest, covered in patches and buttons, a sweet handlebar mustache that our forefathers wish they could grow, and hair down to his back with a trucker cap on top, chuck gave me some insights as to the musical upbringing of a metal head.
Brian for Stories from the Crowd: What do you like about Acid King and their psychedelic sound?
Chuck: They are kind of, a little bit different than your run of the mill everyday stuff, I guess. I mean, last time I saw them I was on acid. So that made them even better. That was a bucket list thing. You know?
Stories: What is your typical genre go to? Is it acid rock, is it doom?
Chuck: I’m like one of those chicks on tinder, I listen to all types of music.
Stories: Except you actually listen to all types of music. Like, you listen to metal.
Chuck: Well a lot of different metal. Let’s see. A lot of like, Doomy stuff, anything fuzzy. A lot more of the death metal lately because of my buddy Scott from Maggot Stomp. Maggot Stomp rules YEAH! And some country stuff too. You know, Outlaw country. Newer stuff, older stuff.
Stories: What’s your guilty pleasure band?
Passerby: Ace of Base!
Chuck: I do like Ace of Base…. I don’t know Benny Mardones.
Everyone on the patio bursting into song: She’s just 16 years old, Leave her alone, they say…
After having a good laugh with the folks outside I went back in for the next band, the weird and wacky Wizard Rifle. Wizard Rifle, a two piece, proved that weird can be heavy, giving my mush the profile of a man. Their songs varied from dreamy (a typical trait of Doom), eclectic (think Primus prog-ish), and of course RAW! Their set also just so happens to be one of the coolest I’ve seen. With both drummer Sam Ford, and guitarist Max Dameron sharing vocal duties, the duo tore up the stage! Ford was hitting his set with such ferocity, that he needed his own designated kick drum holder. Even on carpet, the drum kept sliding away from his set, so much to the point of needing someone to hold it in place. Dameron, and his legion of pedals managed to make their 2 piece sound like a 5, filling out the sound with various effects, with favoritism toward the loop pedal. The end of the set saw Dameron unplugging his guitar, and plugging an extra mic directly into his pedalboard. To any passerby this looked like a technician on his first day, with the guitarist on his knees singing into the mic, while twisting the various knobs on his pedalboard. If they can manage to pick up enough traction, Wizard Rifle will go down as one of the most unique live performances of this decade. This estranged clergy of Wizards opened me up to the psychedelic.
Just before the main event, I got to talk to John and Alanda Bisarek, who own and operate Death or Glory Tattoo down in Council Bluffs. John and Alanda, Both gorgeous people tatted to the nines, discussed the importance of rawness in music.
Stories: What band brought you to the show tonight?
John: Acid King
Stories: What draws you to bands like Acid King?
John: It is Sabbath Style Psychedelic blues, and that’s what I want. Actually Tim Lehide did an album cover for them a few years ago. I’m a tattooer, and she (Alanda) is a tattooer as well, and he is one of my favorites ever. So that was a part of the draw.
Stories: What are you listening to lately, besides Acid King?
John: Clearly their last 3 records, I have been listening to these last couple of weeks. I don’t know man. I’m a big Sabbath fan, I love The Who. I like the Beatles, I love Queens of the Stone-Age, I like a lot of different kinds of music.
Stories: So you like a lot of Classic Rock then?
John: Yeah but I listen to… I like Dean Martin a ton. I like 80’s and 90’s hip-hop and gangsta rap. Like, I listen to a lot of stuff. Mastodon, the first four records. I am all over the place. Baroness, she (Alanda) got to see Baroness for the first time a few months ago.
Stories: What are you listening to right now Alanda?
Alanda: Bayside. That’s actually been one of mine for a while.
Alanda: Dang! Why didn’t i say Nickelback? I ruined this whole thing! No, but we actually did a Bayside tattoo on me a little while ago. They have been one of my favorites since I was like 14 so… They are going to be playing here in December.
John: I actually grew up on 70’s punk. I actually didn’t like metal until I like, 10 years ago. I grew up on classic 70s punk and surf music… Yeah I’m all over the place, I like Delta Blues. I like Billy Holiday, I like a lot of music. I like 80’s Madonna.
Alanda: I listen to such a wide array of music. I love a lot of 50’s music. I love The Beatles. I love instrumental stuff, you know. It can just be like, piano of cello or something. I love very melodic things. It doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as it has a soul to it.
John: It is kind of like the first time you hear the Hendrix Experience. There’s people that don’t like Hendrix, but the first time you here Hendrix, you are hearing the blues turned on it’s head and a jazz drummer essentially and then Knowles doing his thing on bass. So you have all these obscure things, but what you are hearing is something that hits you to the core. If you listen to anything like, mainstream, or pop music in the past 40 years, a lot of that stuff is very polished. There is no human element to it. So a band like, Acid King, or any of the other 2 bands that played tonight, those guys are getting up and playing pretty much rudimentary rock and roll; 3 or 4 chords, lots of weird changes with drums. Its pretty much just power. It’s less technique but it’s F@#king Human. I think that is what we are missing a lot. It’s like when the Ramones started playing in the early 70s. A lot of their music sounded like 50s music sped up and distorted because, that was the thing that was lacking for a while. Everything was very polished and disco music was kind of a big thing, and in there, there is a lot of that stuff.
Stories: So, you are saying that this sort of raw music, fills a hole, that modern music lacks.
John: I think that is 100% why people gravitate towards this kind of stuff. It’s a lifestyle and look too. Clearly, being able to grow your hair out, smoke weed, and have a beard is pretty cool, but I think there is a human element to it that is missing from most music. And…then you got a bunch of tattoos.
And finally we arrive at the main event, Acid King. What follows is the culmination of my molding. Acid King, promoting the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Busse Woods, played the album in its entirety, shaving off the extra bits of mushy me, to form a statue of myself in crystal clear detail. I, was, I am, I’m furthermore, a Doom fan. From moment one, the bass rattled me, and that was all I needed to get there. Their bell bottom laden jams combined with the psychedelic backdrop, and the molding of my tired ass from the previous bands put me in the trance that I needed to truly understand. It was a raw cacophony of riffs that linger just long enough for you to explore the crevices of their sound, without getting boring. During the song 39 lashes I locked in on the face printed on the bass drum, which vibrated with every kick. 34……… 35……….. 36……….. I was numb before the 39th lashing. By the last song everyone was nodding their heads in bliss.
Following the show I interviewed 2 more fans Juan, and Taylor. Juan was wearing a pretty sweet Power Trip shirt while rocking a killer beard and Taylor was the Ned Flanders look, mustache, sweater and all.
Stories: What draws people to this kind of music?
Juan: It’s just the Grimy-ness. It’s just being there, and being able to like…
Taylor: Just feel it man.
Juan: You’re just having a good time, bobbing your head.
Taylor: It’s like you’re just riding a wave. It’s pretty tight.
Juan: It’s good to go on cruise control and jam out for a bit.
Stories: To get a feel for what you guys are into musically, what’s your favorite band?
Juan: Right now, Nails. I’m a big fan of Powerviolence (the musical genre).
Taylor: That second band ripped! Wizard Rifle was so tight.
Stories: Where do you lie on the musical spectrum?
Juan: Thrash and Death
Taylor: It’s all about the flavor of the week man. Sometimes I just want to zone out, put on a little sleep and doze off. Other days I might need a little boost, and throw on an old Dillinger Escape Plan record.
Juan: We’re all across the spectrum. I guess I’m just a music fan in general.
In conclusion, in order to fully enjoy Doom metal, one must build the mood, one must yearn for raw human essence in music, and one must be open to the experience. Anyways I’m not entirely sure how to end this, so… A very special thank you to Spencer, for letting me be a guest writer, Stories from the Crowd rules! And last but not least, If you like me, my writing, or local metal, check out slimeandgrime.net, where we post fun articles about cool shows, albums, local and national artists, and more!
Thanks so much for reading. If you like what you read, please consider subscribing, liking our page on Facebook, or following on Instagram. I hear the coolest people do all three. This goes a long way to helping us continue to receive photo access for all the best shows! You can find us on Facebook and Instagram @storiesfromthecrowd